So here we are … it is the end of November. This post was originally meant to be part of a series in association with the celebration known as “Noirvember” but alas life gets away from you sometimes and plans go awry.
But have no fear – I hereby present you with a condensed version of the series.
The idea being that while we often associate the film noir movement with stylized, moody expressionistic angles in black and white cinematography, there were more than a handful of gritty, evocative pieces during the peak period of this movement (I am looking at you, 1940s and 1950s) that were shot in color. The main thing is that these films evoke a mood
Here are just a few films that I feel are worth your consideration if noir is your thing:
Leave Her To Heaven (1945). I have mentioned this film on several occasions but it goes without saying that this is a must-see Technicolor piece noted by the wonderful performance of Gene Tierney that not only shows the full force of her acting powers but is really disturbing on so many levels.
Niagara (1953). Two couples meet at the honeymooner’s paradise (especially at that time), but dreams are dashed when the merry holidaymaking becomes a murderous nightmare. Starring Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, and Jean Peters. Directed by Henry Hathaway.
A Kiss Before Dying (1956). While not an absolute favorite of mine, this film is notable for being one of Joanne Woodward’s first films. In it, she plays an ill-fated heiress caught in the grasp of cunning, socially ambitious go-getter Robert Wagner. Also starring Jeffrey Hunter. An ill-advised and poorly received remake was made in 1991.
In my “research” (yeah, I actually do a little digging around before my self-described ‘brain dumps’) there were other films (mostly Hitchcock thrillers) that while some may categorize them as “noir,” I chose not to include on the list for purely subjective reasons. But that is the thing — one of the many great issues of debate among cineastes and film scholars alike is how exactly does one define what is considered noir. As I mentioned in my 2014 piece on Leave Her to Heaven, I like the definition offered on AMC’s Filmsite Website. But note: various other opinions on the subject are available.
Seen any of these films? Think I am missing something? Hit the comments section and let me know what you think.